A few weeks ago … 17 weeks, in fact … I decided to reboot a pre-pandemic weekend project with the sole aim of rebooting my creative drive.
My pandemic lockdowns and slowdowns were spent studying, cleaning and organising. My new job was also very focussed on organising things. It felt like I’d forgotten how to look at things sideways. Not ‘felt like’. I actually couldn’t think up a new project. There was an entrenched problem.
With the reboot, the 12:32pm project changed slightly. It’s still about taking a photo at 12:32pm (or very shortly thereafter) each Saturday to show what I’m doing. This time, however, the point of view is different. The first iteration used a mid-range shot. Now, its about getting in close, as close as I dare, and find a way to demonstrate action. How close can I get to abstraction without loosing the reference to action? Or, how can I position the shot to imply or show a narrative?
Not every shot is a winner, and that’s OK. The aim was/is to get me thinking about these things again, and that’s working.
So, what’s the “Another” in today’s title – Another Weekend Project?
While taking these photos last Saturday, I remembered back a few years … 10 or more years … to my weekly participation in online photo challenges. Each week, a particular photographic website would announce a challenge. I’d give myself one hour on the weekend to work through the idea and come up with an image. It was a lot of fun, and I still love some of the images I created. This one is my favourite. The intention was to capture ‘Spirit’:
My new weekend project is called Within The Hour. The title is self-explanatory.
But it’s not just a photographic project, although I will probably take photos along the way, as well as the end result for a possible post here.
The idea is to accept a trigger, hopefully during the week, and let it open up a creative path … of any sort … any media … any direction during the weekend. The only rule is Within The Hour.
It doesn’t even have to be on the weekend, but that’s the most probable scenario.
For my first weekend, I have a couple of options. The extension cords, white and bright yellow, thrown on the back verandah after mowing – they could be installations at various locations around the house and garden? Or, the little cardboard tray under the capsicums, about to land in the recycling – that could be the base for a small painting?
I opted for the second because it was different.
The extension cord installation is an idea worth keeping on tap, but for now it’s too photographic and reminds me of a series of images I’ve already played with.
Let’s get started
Painting is a clumsy activity. I don’t have the muscle memory. I don’t paint often enough.
I could be pretentious and describe the solid colour canvases scattered across the walls of my house as explorations in colour field theory, but that would be a terrible lie. They are blocks of solid colour, with minor gradations and texture, because anything more detailed disappoints.
I need to embrace gesture, but that’s for another day because today my “canvas” is very small.
I’ve selected some very empty paint tubs, to use them up, and an assortment of brushes. The little tray awaits.
I’ve wanted to try something in the style of Agnus Martin so start with small dashes. It looks a bit too much like sewing or weaving. I’m not sure about the colour choices and settle on just using the sage green. The dashes continue and get increasingly uneven. A few random dabs of shadow and, if I squint, I can see how water could be painted.
What if, while the paint is still wet, I scratch across in the opposite direction with the brush. The paint blends but not completely. It’s an interesting effect. The texture of the cardboard plays it part.
Not thinking about the tray as a tray was a missed opportunity. I could have spent some of the time treating the inside edges as a frame.
Or I could have let the creases in the sides of the tray be the starting points for playful meandering lines.
The unexpected lesson, and a little alarming, is that I only think of these things when looking at a photo of the tray on the computer screen!
Why didn’t I see them when looking at the object in 3D? Because I’ve trained my brain to associate so much of its thinking with this visual rectangle in front of my face.
I can see many benefits flowing from this small one hour investment in creative play.
Two week’s have passed and I can’t leave it like that. So, for this week’s Within The Hour, I returned to the little tray, pulled out some intense blue paint, and had another go.
Lessons are learnt with actions.
What are your thoughts?